Planning Commission Discusses Wind Ordinance

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The Montgomery County Planning Commission and the county’s Economic Development Committee met Monday evening, Nov. 2, for a final discussion about the revisions suggested by the planning commission members to the currently in force wind power siting ordinance. 

The county board will vote whether to adopt those changes during the board meeting Tuesday evening, Nov. 10.

The planning commission is chaired by Toni McDonough; voting members are C.J. Liddell, Bill “Red” Schroeder, Joe Goeke, and Brian Niemann. Ex-official members are county board representative Ron Deabenderfer, county clerk and secretary Sandy Leitheiser, county engineer Cody Greenwood, and county economic development corporation coordinator Valerie Belusko.

Also present for Monday’s discussion were Rachel Tester, Andy Ritchie, and county board chair Evan Young, with Parkland College instructor Joe Tillman present to provide expert wind farm/energy or wind farm/power opinions. Joining the group by phone was wind farm developer Stan Komperda, who represents Highland Renewables, which has an office in Springfield.

The board’s current economic development committee is chaired by Donna Yeske, with Mark Hughes, Dennis McCammack, Tim Fogle, Glenn Savage, and Deabenderfer as its members. Their major task Monday was to decide if the newest wind ordinance (the original was adopted in June of 2009) would advance for the upcoming full board’s approval.

The new ordinance totals 32 pages and at least that many hours of debate by the commission. 

As a developer Komperda feels the proposed ordinance might discourage wind farms in the county because of setback and tower height restrictions; Tillman said the proposed ordinance does a good job of “...threading the needle...,” in that it protects property owners while allowing for a margin of profit for developers. The Economic Development Committee agreed with Tillman, voting unanimously to advance the ordinance to the board for a vote this coming Monday. (Board members were given a draft to review at their October meeting, so more questions may arise.)

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